Pop Culture

How Zooey Deschanel Really Feels About Being Labeled ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl'

Zooey Deschanel shares her thoughts on being dubbed "Manic Pixie Dream Girl," a term often used to describe some of her most popular onscreen characters

Zooey Deschanel
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Don't call Zooey Deschanel a "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" anymore.

The "New Girl" alum explained how she feels about being associated with the pop culture term, first coined in 2007 by AV Club writer Nathan Rabin, which typically describes a quirky, somewhat nerdy and attractive female character who gives a male protagonist a deeper meaning to his life.

"I don't feel it's accurate," Deschanel told the Guardian in an interview published July 21. "I'm not a girl. I'm a woman. It doesn't hurt my feelings, but it's a way of making a woman one-dimensional and I'm not one-dimensional."

When asked if she is getting fewer roles as a manic pixie dream girl, and if positive changes such as the #MeToo movement have shifted Hollywood away from female tropes, the 42-year-old responded, "I think the tendency is still to make women one-dimensional, so you have to add dimension, if you can. The more screen time a female character gets, the more space there is to show complexities, but there has been a shift, so I'm optimistic."

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Deschanel has played several characters that many fans consider to be Manic Pixie Dream Girls (MPDGs)--Summer in "500 Days of Summer," Allison in "Yes Man" and Jess in the sitcom "New Girl." In a 2018 Bustle interview, Deschanel rejected the latter as such, noting her character in the TV series was the protagonist.

Also in 2018, Deschanel appeared to be more nonchalant about being associated with MPDGs. Speaking to Larry King, she said, "I think people just take away what they take away from you and you put yourself out there and play the characters who you're attracted to. It wasn't something I cultivated."

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